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Monkeying Around, Animals on the Menu and Fire

Creepily human-like, always aggressive, and ready to snag whatever you’ve got in hand – they’re monkeys. The Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur (KL) are a sacred place for local Hindu’s and are free to visit; you just have to climb the 272 steps that lead you in. This is also home to a colony of long-tailed macaques that run about the site working as full-time models and part-time bag looters. On this particular day, one male macaque thought it wise to blockade Morgan’s path until it could snafu the bag he was carrying. Morgs went left – macaque when left. “Wanna dance, monkey?” Morgan would say sticking out this chest in male superiority. Being Morgan-sized didn’t seem to phase the monkey who simply showed all this teeth in an eerily mischievous gape and decided to hit the nearest garbage bin instead. Inside the Batu Caves dozens of macaques roam ready to pose for your pictures and startle the poop out of some.

Round two would involve a large number of silver leaf monkeys, some green beans and a banana. Holding any food or items for that matter in your hands is a bad idea and as far as food goes, don’t even try and pocket it; the monkeys will reach into your pocket and grab it. Bunches of green beans are sold for less than a dollar at monkey sites, as well as nuts and bananas. Holding a banana on top of my head would lead to a monkey assault on little me. I still have a monkey scar on my right arm from the incident.

A visit the KL tower offered a great 360 view of the city at the top. At the bottom, a pony ride is offered. Sadly, only I was lucky enough to score a ride; there was a midget-pony-rides-for-midget-people-only policy in effect. We would finally snuff out some crazy in the adjacent animal sanctuary where something called the “Double Prosperity” was being showcased. This was the catch phrase the Malaysians had coined to showcase their mutant two-headed turtle. Inside got even more interesting. Propped up beside a snake cage was a Animal Feeding Menu. Having built a very special bond with rodents after spending years rooming with them at past places of employment, Morgan very quickly jumped at Rat. The next few things would NEVER fly in many places in the world, but when in Malaysia… We watched as an employee disappeared into a back room and returned carrying a live rat by its tail. Whacking it on the ground a couple of times disorientating it, he opened up the snake cage and let mother nature take over. The next 15 minutes was spent watching the snake suffocate and swallow the rat whole. Lindsay and Morgan’s Excellent Adventure -1, Discovery Channel HD – zero.

A visit to the Kuala Lumpur butterfly sanctuary left us in stitches. Heading into the insect exhibit after a rather disappointing butterfly viewing (I’d get a better view of live butterflies ripping around on a scooter in Laos as they continuously seemed to find my face or head) we came across some interesting photo commentary.

First it was the butterfly’s mating image with a caption that read – “Don’t look at me please!”, But then the kicker, a water scorpion with a caption “Sucking our…” – anyone want to try tackling that one? McDonald’s in KL also had some brow furrowing messaging to share with the hungry people.

We aren’t one for arranged tours, but we did like the sounds of the firefly tour as Mr. Chinatown Hotel 2 sold us on the rarity of the opportunity. Raving about how there is only two places in the world you can see the fireflies in there natural habitat like this (Kuala Lumpur and Brazil) we jumped at the opportunity. Hoping in a mini-bus with a couple of entertaining guys who got us lost trying to find place, we all hoped in a boat with life jackets and cameras. We saw millions of tiny lights pulsing in the surrounding riverbank trees. It was pointless trying to take any pictures of the event, and to aid in our quest of getting a closer look (or something for memory’s sake) one of our drivers (they always come in twos in case the bus,car,van breaks down as we would find to be useless in Laos) caught a firefly in a bag and released in the car hoping that we’d finally catch a photo op. FAIL. The fly blinked about for a second and then disappeared under Morgan’s car seat. We tried to take photos that way, but again were unlucky.

The Hindi Thaipusam festival that is celebrated every January at the Batu Caves carries some serious weight (literally) and WOW factor in KL. As a form of penance or sacrifice to the gods, devotees carry a kavadis (meaning burden), except this burden is attached to your skin. They are brightly decorated frameworks combining various hooks and skewers that pinch the skin, cheeks and tongue used to pull a jug or pitcher. The ritual is thought to bring godly favours to those who suffer them. Ouch.

Ducking out of Malaysia and back over the Thai border our train’s engine caught fire bringing everything to a standstill. After all the training we’d tested for the last few months, not once had we had a train catch fire. Not even the old cabooses that chug-a-lugged through Poland. The smoke came barreling out from the front of the train bringing entertainment to many snap happy passengers. One local ho-hummed something to the tune of “this happens everyday.”

The Limey

One comment on “Monkeying Around, Animals on the Menu and Fire

  1. toniashtonmoir
    April 8, 2011

    Again a fantastic blog Keep em comin!!!Love Toni xxxxx

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2011 by in Backpacking, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and tagged , , , , .
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